Paul Burlin

In an essay that accompanied Paul Burlin’s 1962 retrospective at New York City’s American Federation of the Arts, the renowned art critic Irving Sandler wrote: “…Burlin takes his stance in chaos but does not succumb to it.” Indeed for decades, Paul Burlin’s energetically rendered, vividly colored abstract paintings pushed the boundaries of American Modernism. The artist was born in New York in 1886 and drawn to creative pursuits at a young age.

After spending a short time as an illustrator, Burlin enrolled at the National Academy of Design in 1900, where he received a formal education and refined his technical skills. At 26 years old, Burlin was the youngest artist to participate in the 1913 Armory Show—alongside Picasso, Monet, and others. Later that year, Burlin settled in the Southwest, where he was impressed by what he described as the “primeval, erosive, forbidding character of the landscape.” Burlin’s time in New Mexico had a profound impact on the development of modernism throughout the Southwest.

According to art historian and writer Sharyn Udall, “Burlin’s stature as the first modernist painter in New Mexico was unquestioned; his was the pivotal role in introducing fauve and expressionist modes to the art of New Mexico.” By the 1950s, he had moved almost entirely into abstract expressionistic work. Burlin’s paintings from the last decades of his life are filled with energy and movement, restlessness and cacophony, balanced with technical mastery and clarity of vision.

See works by Burlin that the gallery currently has available HERE.